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International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) annual meeting. (October 12-14 2019): Heather Cordell

As part of its mission to encourage engagement within the genetics community, PLOS Genetics is sponsoring a number of conferences and meetings this year. In order to raise awareness about these conferences and the researchers who attend them, we are featuring a number of the conferences on Biologue, with posts written by the organizers, or the PLOS Genetics editors who are involved. Heather Cordell is a member of the IGES organising committee and is a member of the PLOS Genetics Editorial Board.

An exciting opportunity for those attending the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) annual meeting is to consider combining it with attending the 28th annual International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) meeting. This will take place October 12-14, 2019 at the Hilton of Americas Hotel in Houston, Texas, immediately preceding the ASHG meeting in the same location.

Talks at IGES will highlight newly emerging and ongoing work to overcome methodological challenges in the field, and practical applications of these methods using real data. The meeting will cover a broad range of topics related to genetic epidemiology, including specific sessions on:

  • Polygenic scores, risk assessment and prognostic modelling
  • Mediation and Mendelian randomization
  • Genomics in diverse populations
  • Large-scale populations, collections and challenges
  • Machine learning approaches
  • Omics: methods and applications

Invited speakers at the meeting include Genevera Allen (Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine), whose research interests are in high dimensional inference and machine learning, Toby Johnson (GlaxoSmithKline) who works on causal inference and methods for validation of drug targets, Kari North (UNC Department of Epidemiology) with multidisciplinary research in cardiovascular disease, and Hongyu Zhao (Yale University), who develops statistical approaches answering a wide range of  questions in human genetics and molecular biology.

This year, the Society has included a special educational session on Mendelian Randomization (link: in which participants will gain hand-on practical experience and a thorough understanding of the methodological assumptions and challenges. Mendelian Randomization is increasing in popularity as a causal inference method making use of genetic variation. Results from this methodology have the potential to steer the direction of basic science research.

A key feature of the IGES meeting that makes it unique is that all sessions are plenary, and there are no concurrent sessions. This structure ensures a clear focus for the scheduled content, and the engagement of all attendees. It also promotes a highly collegial atmosphere, and provides an excellent opportunity for trainees to get introduced to the breadth of the field and to hear about cutting edge topics. A Welcome Session and Banquet are built into the schedule to allow for networking opportunities and community building.

Please visit the conference website for details:


Featured image credit: Sanjay Shete, CC BY


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